Do yourself a favor. Stop for a minute and ask yourself what you want your life to look like. Then, picture yourself at that moment when you have got it made. Where are you? What are you doing? Who do you share this moment with?
The future image you are seeing will result from what you do now. Your Decisions! No matter how big or small, decisions push the narrative that is your life, from your health and relationships to your financial freedom. Questions steer your life away from regrets and towards happiness.
I read the book Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets – written by Andy Stanley, an Atlanta, GA pastor. He listed vital questions we should ask ourselves when facing important decisions. Filled with his life experiences, research citations, and Biblical stories, he ponders what it means to ask them in your life. Below are some of those questions we can use in our financial life.
1. Am I being honest with myself? Really?
When I started my PT career, I stacked my life with appointments, purchases, and extra work that begged my attention. These all came from decisions that I made in the past. Past me thought saying yes to everything and buying a mountain of stuff needing another PRN work to fund them was a great idea.
If I had asked, “Am I being honest with myself? Really?” I would’ve avoided half of those problems. The verse, “The truth will set you free,” may be mystical, but it has a point. I could have been contented with less stuff, so I could’ve worked much less. (money mistake avoided!)
Before swiping your card, signing that lease, or checking out your cart, stop and ask the question. Do I want to spend X amount of dollars to get this? Really? Will “insert purchase here” add up value to my life? Really? Am I willing to work an insane number of hours weekly for this? Really?
Ask it out loud or in your head but be honest with yourself. You don’t even have to act on it, but you owe it to yourself to know.
2. What story do I want to tell?
Regrets are often told in the final moments of life surrounded by loved ones. An already tragic moment burdened by things that could have been done, words that could have been said, and decisions that could have been made. A picture of someone who didn’t live as they wanted to. Decisions were made that resulted in a story that they couldn’t proudly tell.
It takes me back to one of the habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey. “Begin with the End in mind.” Reflecting on the life you want reinforces your values, the connections that support you, and the things that give you true happiness. A perspective that impacts the decisions that you make now.
This is why it’s essential to ask your “Why of FI.” Your financial independence story will motivate and guide you in every decision. Good or bad, they will write the future you will live and tell.
Do you want stories of never missing a kid’s birthday party for work? Are you okay with the narrative of debt and financial insecurity ruling your life? Are your words at retirement, “I should’ve worked less and lived more?”
Let the end goal be the motivation for every step you make now. Imagine a picture of the life you want to tell and start painting the strokes that will become your life’s masterpiece.
3. What is the wisest thing to do?
Although there is a saying that wisdom comes with age, acquiring knowledge from books and learning from the experiences of others could be of value in any field we wish to excel. Combining theoretical and practical knowledge can help us discover the wisest thing to do.
As the money decision comes, you can ask, “What is the wisest thing to do with my tax refund?” If you don’t have an emergency or retirement fund, it might be wise to save for those. Getting into debt to buy a new car or house? Before you commit and sign, think, “What is the wisest thing to do?” You may realize something that will save you from years of money mistakes.
Avoid Money Mistakes, Live with Intention
Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Examine your life by asking these questions. Make sure you are part of writing your life story. Avoid an avalanche of regret by being honest with yourself. Seek wisdom and apply them in every decision. Life is made one mindful (or mindless) decision at a time. Get the answers, not to beat yourself up, but because you deserve to know.
We are a Pinoy Physical Therapist duo living somewhat unconventional but intentional lives. Trying to be smarter and better than before, we surround ourselves with content, experiences, and people that help us discover practical yet powerful ways to achieve our goals.
We aim to be financially independent by making small changes to our lives. We invite you to join our journey! We hope that you learn something valuable from our experiences.
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We are NOT certified financial advisors, analysts, or CPAs. Investing strategies shared in this article and the website are not financial advice but our opinions for educational purposes only. We want you to treat our content as a preview to do your research so you can make intelligent financial decisions.